By CHELSEA JENSEN
State Department of Human Services officials confirmed Thursday a Kona caregiver’s care home certification was revoked in September following the death of an 82-year-old patient, but declined to provide further details.
In a prepared statement released late Thursday by DHS spokeswoman Kayla Rosenfeld, the department confirmed it conducted an investigation into the care home, and revoked its operating license in September.
“As is the DHS’ policy, whenever its Adult Protective Services Branch receives a report concerning abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation by a Community Care Foster Family Home, an investigation is immediately opened. During the course of any investigation, witnesses are identified and interviewed as appropriate. Where abuse, neglect or financial exploitation is confirmed the DHS may invoke a range of sanctions, including revocation of the operating license,” the statement read.
She did not provide any information on whether other patients resided at the home. She also declined to provide the caregiver’s name or address saying the department does not release the information.
The department’s Adult Protection Services unit on Sept. 24 revoked the Hao Kuni Street Community Care Foster Family Home’s certification following the death of Oscar Ramos on Aug. 13, said Hawaii Police Department Area II Criminal Investigations Section Lt. Gerald Wike. No property on the street identifies itself as a care home and police have also declined to release the caregiver’s identity or address.
“Once the investigation is complete, we will refer the case to prosecutors for review,” he said about the case’s next step.
Big Island police initiated on Nov. 1 a manslaughter investigation in connection with the death of the 82-year-old man after they had conferred with prosecutors.
On Aug. 13, Kona patrol officers responded to a report of an unresponsive resident at a care home on Hao Kuni Street. The man was taken by ambulance to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:58 p.m.
An autopsy subsequently determined Ramos died from aspiration of food, which occurs when food block’s a person’s airway. A manslaughter investigation was then initiated.
After police consulted with the DHS’ Adult Protective Services, detectives focused on the level of care provided. DHS, via a separate investigation, revoked the caregiver’s care home certification on Sept. 24.
No arrests have been made although the department is looking at the caregiver as a person of interest, Wike said.
Email Chelsea Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.